5G Powers The Future Of UtilitiesITFirst South Africa
Ever since the 2022 spectrum auction in South Africa, there’s been a frenzy around the opportunities that next-generation technologies can unlock. Case in point, there’s been significant hype around the exciting prospects of 5G Connectivity.
With faster peak speeds, lower latency, massive device density, and new highly anticipated capabilities, there now exists a myriad of applications of which businesses and industries of all types can take advantage.
Perhaps the most exciting opportunity lies in 5G-powered utility transformation, radically changing energy and utilities.
A Reminder – What Is 5G & Why Is It Great ?
We previously explored the ins and outs of 5G Connectivity in this post, but as a brief reminder, 5G is the 5th generation mobile network. It follows on the advancements pioneered by its predecessors, starting with 1G (hello mobile phones), 2G (now we can text), 3G (smartphones, at last), and 4G (welcome to streaming).
Essentially, 5G represents the culmination of all these benefits, plus WiFi and wired functionality, all into a single platform, operating at lightning fast speeds.
There are many benefits behind 5G, but these are the top 3:
- Greater speed – between 10 and 50 GBps (similar to or better than fibre).
- Lower latency – less lag between doing something and having that thing be done (like hitting send on an email and having it be sent).
- More devices can be connected – 1000 times more devices on the network (think machine to machine communication s and IoT deployments).
What Does 5G Have To Do With Utilities?
Wondering what 5G has to do with energy and utilities? To start with, companies and organisations, as well as their customers, want the necessary data delivered anytime, anywhere, and through their preferred platforms and devices. It therefore follows that next-generation connectivity technology, such as wireless and wireline densification, edge computing, and software defined networks, is essential.
What this creates is ‘industrial 5G,’ which is 5G Connectivity that meets the communication demands of industrial applications.
From the perspective of power and utilities service providers, these vastly superior capabilities, made possible by communications providers, will enable greater speeds, faster reaction times, and more flexibility in network architecture.
But more than this, it’s generally thought that this architecture will support industrial 5G and drive high-speed and reliable communication for power grids. What we’re saying is that as a technology, 5G has the capacity to provide robust architectures for industrial operations, like energy and utilities.
What Does This Look Like?
There’s no better way to explain the potential of 5G in energy and utilities than by example. Just last year, in 2021, it was announced by UK Power Networks (UKPN) that they were exploring 5G telecommunications technology at substations in Scotland and southeast England.
Essentially, UKPN has set about building a 5G-powered smart grid. This pilot project is looking at how 5G technology can function as a platform for data collection and flexible arbitrage. To this end, Telco Vodafone is supplying a 5G network to connect distributed and intelligent grid devices, while other project partners (including General Electric, ABB, Siemens, and the University of Strathclyde) are providing high-speed connectivity, software, and sophisticated computers in UKPN substations.
The overall goal is to enhance the efficiency of the power grid, improve grid reliability, and expand renewable energy resources. If the project succeeds, the future of power becomes less fragile. The future of power becomes… more, bigger, and better.
It’s no wonder that in one of their reports, Deloitte commented that “5G empowers electricity.”
The Future Is Fast Approaching
The thing is, 5G isn’t just another one of these ‘digital disruptions’ that you can leave or take – it’s a vital ‘digital enabler’ like no other. We’re sure that as the infrastructure expands, there will be more opportunities that will have tremendously positive benefits for power grids around the world.
Ultimately, at Huge Connect, we consider 5G a viable door to the future, a future that is fast approaching and already being invested in. You’ve only got to look at the estimated $2 trillion that communications providers are said to have already started investing in 5G and other communications technology.
The question is, what are you doing to take advantage of these new technologies and stay ahead of the pack?
Connect with us today and let’s explore what the future looks like for you.